Observations on Yante Maten and Tremont Waters

January 16, 2018

By Alan Lu

Today, I decided to watch Tremont Waters and LSU play against Yante Maten and Georgia in an SEC game, as it was a very competitive match that went all the way down to the wire.  Waters played well early, but he ended up fading into the background, and Georgia was able to slow the pace down to a crawl.  Maten started off slowly, but he played better as the game wore on, and he eventually was able to make the go-ahead shot to get his team the win.  Here are my thoughts on how both of them fared, as well as how well the other prospects did on this day.

Georgia’s 6-8 senior forward, Yante Maten had trouble making shots consistently, but he made them when they counted, and he is a tough, powerful post player that can get numerous rebounds and blocks for his team.  He also can get numerous scores around the basket on hustle plays, as he will stay with it to score on second chance points.

Maten did a good job of scoring on hustle plays.  He is a high-motor player that will often follow up on misses, and he really excelled at scoring on put backs after getting quick offensive rebounds for his team.  He also managed to score on a drive in transition, and he also drew an extra free throw.  Plus, he also was score on a key roll to the rim late in the game to get his team the go-ahead bucket.

He also showed an adequate ability to score in the low post.  Maten is a mobile big man that can use pivot and spin moves to get past his man, and he did a good job of scoring on jump hooks and turnaround jumpers, but sometimes, he would miss shots in traffic as he may not possess much lift, and he ended up getting blocked numerous times by defenders.  He struggled to consistently score off the dribble and he had trouble knocking down jumpers, but he was able to use a pump fake to score on a pull-up, mid-range shot.

Also, he showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Maten did not look to pass too often, but he did show a good ability to pass from the post to find open shooters.  He also managed to throw a good pass to break a trap.  He also can bring the ball up the floor if he has to.  However, he did end up committing a couple of turnovers, as he ended up getting tied up after looking to score from the post once, and he also travelled after rolling to the rim another time.  Maten also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would leap up to haul in many boards on both ends of the floor, and he really excelled at scoring on put backs.

He also showcased adequate defensive skills.  Maten did a good job of blocking shots to protect the paint, and he was able to swat a shot to a teammate once.  He also will actively contest shots from anywhere on the court to force misses.  However, he may struggle to guard quicker players, as that can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

In general, Yante Maten had a fairly good game in his team’s narrow win over LSU.  He is a tough, strong forward that can get numerous scores and rebounds in the paint, and he also possesses a solid motor when he is on the court.  He can struggle to score in traffic, but his ability to stay with plays enables him to score often on put backs.  Right now, he may be a second round prospect for the upcoming draft.  He will need to improve upon his weaknesses, but his ability to score and rebound could potentially enable him to end up being an effective role player in the association.

This was not a great game for LSU’s freshman point guard, Tremont Waters.  He started off playing well early on, as he was aggressive in looking to make plays for himself and his teammates.  But as the game continued on, it slowed down, and Waters became less effective or involved on the offensive end.   He started playing too passively, as he tended to dribble around, and his tendency to be a ball stopper seemed to really hinder the flow of his team’s offense.  He will also walk the ball up numerous times in the second half, as this played right into Georgia’s hands, as the other team was able to slow effectively him and LSU down.

Waters showed a fairly good ability to get scores off the dribble.  He is a quick, shifty guard that can swiftly get to the hoop, and he can split double teams, as he did so once to score in transition.  He also managed to score on a leaner off of a drive, and he was able to draw non-shooting fouls a couple of other times.  Plus, Waters was able to use a crossover move to score on a pull-up, long two-point shot.  However, he tended to miss on floaters.  He also did not shoot the ball very well, as he missed both of his three-point attempts from beyond the arc.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills.  Waters would look to pass often, and he can kick it out to shooters to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  Plus, he also managed to throw a long, accurate outlet pass to set up a score for a teammate out on the break.  However, he ha a tendency to be a ball stopper, and he also struggled to play off the ball when it was not in his hands.  He also ended up committing some turnovers due to carelessness, as he traveled once after using a spin move on a drive, and he also threw a pass that ended up getting intercepted.  In this game, he did not grab many rebounds, but he was able to get a couple of defensive boards when he was on the floor.

He also did not play good defense in this game.  Waters would tend to have lapses defensively, as he would end up giving his man too much space to shoot, and on one play, he over-helped in the paint, which led him to allow a three-point basket to his opponent.  Also, there was another time where he committed a foul after guarding an opposing ball handler due to over-aggressiveness on that instance.

Overall, Tremont Waters put forth a disappointing showing, as he seemed to be pretty much a non-factor in the second half, and his tendency to hold the ball too long really disrupted the flow of his team’s offense.   He was not very aggressive in looking to make plays in the second half, and he did not play nearly as well as he did early in the contest.  While he has had a very productive freshman season, Waters just did not play very well on this day, and he will need to play at a faster pace and show that he can excel against top-notch teams, but even so, he could be an interesting player to watch down the road.

Other Notes:

LSU’s 6-11 senior big man, Duop Reath had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Georgia.  He showed off decent low post scoring skills, as he can score on jump hooks.  He also shot the ball well, as he was able to make an open three off the catch, and he also utilized a step back move to score on a pull-up, mid-range shot.  Plus, he also scored off of offensive rebounds, and he used a pump fake to draw free throws on a drive.

He also was able to block a couple of shots to help his team protect the paint.  However, Reath also was prone to committing fouls in the paint, and he had some trouble defending opponents in the post as well as off the dribble.  He also did not rebound very well when he was on the floor.  In general, Reath showed off an interesting skill set, as he is a skilled big man that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, but he will need to improve his rebounding and position defense.  Still, he may have the skills to end up on an NBA team’s summer league roster.

LSU’s 6-10 senior big man, Aaron Epps played well early on, and he is an athletic big man that can also shoot the basketball.  He ran the floor to catch a long outlet pass in order to score on the break, and he did a decent job of knocking down spot-up threes from beyond the arc.  He also defended fairly well, as he would contest and alter shots from all over the court to force misses, and he also excelled at blocking shots to get stops for his team due to possessing solid leaping ability, timing, and instincts.  However, he occasionally struggled to defend in the post, and he did not come away with many rebounds in this game.  In general, Aaron Epps is an athletic, skilled big man that can make some solid plays when he is on the floor, but he also seemed to fade into the background down the stretch.  But with his skill set, he could end up finding his way onto an NBA team’s summer league roster.

LSU’s 6-3 senior guard, Randy Onwuasor who transferred from Southern Utah, was initially thought to be a strong candidate to be his team’s leading scorer, but instead has been relegated to playing only a handful of minutes off the bench regularly.  In this game, he showed a decent ability to score of the dribble, and he is a strong, physical guard that has a good floater that he can use to score in traffic.  He also played unselfishly, as he would find shooters to get assists.   He also played decent defense, as he would heap on loose balls to get steals and deflections.  However, he also would be late to rotate to his man, and he would give up too much space, as that would lead him to allow three-point baskets to his opponents.  Right now, Randy Onwuasor has been having a relatively disappointing season, but his ability to score and defend could potentially enable him to have a successful career in either the G-League or overseas sometime in the future.

Georgia’s 6-8 junior forward, Derek Ogbeide played really well in the first half, and he had a good showing, as he helped lead his team to a close win over LSU.  He did a great job of getting deep position on the block, as he was able to get numerous scores in the post.  He did have trouble guarding quicker players defensively, but Ogbeide played very well on offense, as he did not miss a field goal, and he is a strong, mobile low post player that excelled at finishing plays in the paint.

LSU’s 6-5 junior guard, Brandon Sampson played really well off the bench, as he is an athletic player that scored in a variety of ways.  He did a great job of knocking down pull-up jumpers from all over the court, and he is a good ball handler that can use dribble moves to create separation between himself and his defender.  Also, he was able to score on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he also managed to score on an acrobatic switch of hands layup once.

Georgia’s 6-4 senior guard, Juwan Parker did a very good job of knocking down jumpers, and he also rebounded the ball well when he was on the floor.

Overall, I had decided to watch this match to get a better feel for Tremont Waters and Yante Maten’s games.  Personally, I felt this contest to have been underwhelming, as Waters did not play nearly as well on offense as he may be capable of.  Maten did play well for the most part, as he was able to get numerous points, rebounds, and blocks, but he also was not very efficient in making shots in this game.  It was also a slow paced game that basically went to a crawl, as the game speed was nowhere close to NBA level.

On the other hand, both teams traded leads up to the last minute, and the build up to see which team would win was pretty interesting, and there also seemed to be plenty of skilled basketball players that may be falling significantly under the radar as draft prospects.  While it’s possible that there may be future multiple NBA players to have come out of this game, it is also possible that there may be no future NBA players that have played in this match as well.  Anyways, that’s all for now, and thank you for reading.